Every year, hemorrhoids affect 42 out of 1,000 Americans — which is around 10.6 million people. However, only 2.5 million go for a physical check-up. And that’s understandable. Hemorrhoids can be embarrassing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be serious.
In fact, rectal bleeding, dark stools, and severe pain can be signs of issues like prolapse and thrombosis. These have a significant negative effect on your quality of life. So, getting yourself checked should be a priority.
However, if you’ve gotten yourself checked but still find yourself experiencing severe hemorrhoid symptoms, there are several ways you can get rid of hemorrhoids fast. But before we get into the different ways you could do that, let’s understand why your hemorrhoids flare up.
Why do hemorrhoids flare up?
While the exact cause of hemorrhoids is unknown, they’re most likely a consequence of increased pressure on your rectal veins. However, they may have other contributing factors as well, such as:
- Faulty bowel function
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
You may also develop hemorrhoids as a result of spending a lot of time on the toilet during bowel movements, e.g., straining or reading.
Can you get rid of hemorrhoids fast?
Most mild hemorrhoid symptoms resolve quickly (without any treatment) within five to seven days. Larger and more painful hemorrhoids take at least a week or two to subside on their own and may cause symptoms like pain or bleeding.
However, chronic hemorrhoid symptoms can last for months — even indefinitely — and flare up every few days, months, or weeks, creating a cycle of pain that repeats infinitely. And despite your best efforts, you might not be able to get rid of them without going for medical treatment or surgery.
So, you can’t get rid of hemorrhoids “fast” — if we define that as within 24 hours. You’ll have to wait for at least a week for mild symptoms to subside and undergo medical treatment if the hemorrhoids persist for several weeks or months.
Medical treatments for getting rid of hemorrhoids fast
While mild hemorrhoid symptoms may go away on their own, you might have to go for medical treatments if you’re looking to banish your chronic hemorrhoids quickly. Here are some ways to treat hemorrhoids fast:
1. Rubber band ligation
A rubber band ligation happens when a colon and rectal surgeon slides a rubber band around the base of an internal hemorrhoid, restricting its blood supply. This causes it to wither and slough off in five to ten days.
The procedure is commonly used for first- to third-degree internal hemorrhoids and takes around 10 minutes. You may be able to return to work the next day. However, if you feel a sensation of “fullness” and pain, you may have to stay at home for a few days.
But does it work?
Well, rubber band ligation works for around eight in ten people, and those who undergo it may not need further surgical treatment. In fact, only one in ten people may need surgery after going through a rubber band ligation.
However, like every medical procedure, a rubber band ligation also has complications, with pain being reported by 5% to 60% of patients. However, the pain is typically mild and can be managed with OTC treatments and warm baths.
Sclerotherapy is when your doctor injects a chemical solution made with, 5% phenol in olive oil, or hypertonic salt solution near the base of your hemorrhoid. It damages the hemorrhoid’s blood supply, causing it to harden and shrink.
The procedure takes only seconds to perform and is meant for only first- and second-degree hemorrhoids. It can improve or cure 89.9% of hemorrhoid cases within five to six weeks.
Side effects are extremely rare. They can include mild discomfort or mild bleeding on the toilet tissue.
3. Bipolar photocoagulation
Bipolar photocoagulation is a procedure in which one-second pulses of electricity are applied to your hemorrhoid for around 30 seconds. It causes the hemorrhoid to shrivel and slough off over a period of a month.
The procedure is used to treat first- to third-degree internal hemorrhoids but not prolapsing tissue. It’s used at least three times per site, especially for higher-degree hemorrhoids, and has a success rate of 88% to 100%.
4. Infrared coagulation
Infrared coagulation uses infrared light applied in 0.5 to 2-second pulses to cut off the blood supply to internal hemorrhoids, causing them to shrivel and fall off. It can be used to treat two to six hemorrhoids at one time.
The procedure has a success rate of 67% to 96% in patients with first- to second-degree hemorrhoids. However, it can have complications like pain, swelling, bleeding, infection, and difficulty urinating.
Hemorrhoid treatments you can try for quick relief
If you find the above procedures to be too much too fast, you can always try the following to get instant comfort:
1. Ice it
Hemorrhoids are created when the blood vessels around the anus swell up, causing pain, itching, and irritation. Ice can slow the rate at which swelling occurs by constricting blood vessels and encouraging a decrease in circulation to the area. This can reduce pain.
However, you shouldn’t apply ice to the area for too long because too much blood flow constriction can cause tissue damage, worsen hemorrhoid symptoms, and lead to more pain. And, the ice must be wrapped in a cloth to avoid direct contact with the skin.
So, try to go for 5- to 15-minute icing sessions at a time. But you may not be able to tolerate it for that long. If that’s the case, use the CBAN method to understand when to stop:
- Cold – You should feel a chill when you apply the ice pack.
- Burn – After a few minutes, you should feel a burning sensation set in.
- Ache – The burning feeling will slowly taper off to a mild ache.
- Numb – The area will begin to feel numb at this point. If that happens, you need to remove the ice immediately.
2. Soak in a sitz bath
If sitting on an ice pack sounds uncomfortable, you could try a warm water sitz bath. Here’s what you can do:
- Fill a sitz tub or bath with at least two to five inches of water. Make sure it’s lukewarm because hot water can make swelling and pain worse.
- Add a sitz bath solution or Epsom salt to the water if you want. Just keep in mind that these might cause irritation. So, you can skip them if you want.
- Sit in the hip bath for at least 10 to 15 minutes to improve your hemorrhoids.
You should go for at least two to three sessions per day to get the best results. And it might be helpful to soak in the bath after a bowel movement.
3. Rub some oil
When exposed to air and constant moisture, the area around the anus can become dry. Applying oil to the area can reduce itching, improve skin suppleness, and decrease discomfort and pain.
However, don’t apply oil with bare fingers. You should either wear gloves or use a cotton ball to make sure you don’t introduce any bacteria to the area and increase your risk of infection.
4. Relieve the itch with witch hazel
If you’re struggling with constant itching, you could use witch hazel — an astringent and soothing agent — to relieve the discomfort. You should apply it using a glove, cotton ball, or spray bottle.
Some examples of witch hazel products for hemorrhoids include Tucks® wipes and Preparation-H® wipes and pads.
5. Consider a painkiller
If you’re struggling to perform daily activities because of pain and discomfort, you could use a painkiller to relieve your symptoms. Some OTC painkillers you could use include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
However, be careful with ibuprofen because it can cause constipation and rectal bleeding if taken too long. Additionally, the overuse of ibuprofen can cause bodily organ damage. If you need ibuprofen or other pain relievers, you should probably see a colon and rectal specialist.
6. Try a topical treatment or wipe
Topical wipes, creams, and ointments contain anesthetics, corticosteroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs, which can reduce swelling, pain, discomfort, and other hemorrhoidal symptoms.
Some topical treatments you can use include Preparation-H® and PP110 Gel, both of which are effective at improving pain and other hemorrhoidal symptoms.
So, can you get rid of hemorrhoids fast?
Instant comfort is a mirage when it comes to hemorrhoids. And while you can take a break from the pain, itching, and bleeding by using OTC medicines and at-home treatments, your hemorrhoid symptoms will either resolve on their own or they won’t.
If they decide to stay for more than a week and affect the quality of your life, there are various medical treatments, from rubber band ligation to infrared coagulation, that can help you get rid of these pesky annoyances fast. See your colon and rectal doctor for these treatments.
What positions make hemorrhoids worse?
Lying on your back for hours at a time can make the pain and itching of hemorrhoids worse. This happens because the position puts increased pressure on your anal area.
So, try sleeping on your stomach if you’re struggling with hemorrhoids. It’ll take the pressure off your rectum area and give some relief.
What if my external hemorrhoids won’t go away?
If your external hemorrhoids go on for weeks, you should see your doctor. They’ll help you understand what’s happening behind the scenes and recommend an appropriate treatment.
Is it better to be active or rest with hemorrhoids?
Heavy lifting and high-intensity activities can cause your hemorrhoids to swell and become more painful. However, a lack of activity can cause blood to pool in your anal area, causing your hemorrhoids to become larger.
So, instead of going for either extreme, go about your day-to-day as usual but schedule regular rest times every few hours if you can.